Gerber Turkey Dinner Will Not Send Your Kid to Therapy: Mommy Martyrdom and Homemade Baby Food

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JuneCleaverbabyfood

Lately, I’ve been wondering if I have some sort of mommy bipolar disorder thing going on. Do you ever feel this way…

Like one day I’m June Cleaver Super Mommy on a mission to bake bread, crochet diapers and homeschool all the children on my block. And then, as if someone’s flipped the Jekyll switch, I’m a total Mommy drop out… chain smoking by the side of the house and burning all my cookbooks as I swig Grey Goose from a thermos (not really, but never say never…)

For example, I’ll go to the store and buy a nuclear-fallout amount of jarred baby food. I mean, why not? I buy the organic kind that sounds gourmet and any extras will be used during the zombie apocalypse. All is good and well until a week later when I’ve decided that it’s all rubbish and I can do SO much better than those evil baby food corporations selling us their watered down dribble. So, I bust out the blender and spend an exorbitant amount of time pureeing and freezing all kinds of green goo.

This happened last weekend when I spent an eternity a few hours making homemade baby food.

I’ve been convincing myself that I should be able to do the same things I did when I only had one noob to juggle, such as making my own baby food.

With the first noob, I made my own purees until she turned one. The jarred stuff was mainly our back up/going out option. (God that sounds so bitchy upon second read). Well, as I stood in my kitchen with kale sprayed on the counters and pureed chicken in my lashes (clearly I don’t know how to use a blender), I realized it might be time to adjust my expectations. The time invested : goods produced ratio was not what I had in mind. All I had to show for the hours spent in the kitchen was a few Ziplocs worth of sweet potato, spinach, kale stuff, chicken a la stuff, and carrot mysterium (Dear Gerber, please hire me to name your products. You won’t regret it. Sincerely, NM). Definitely not a few weeks worth of food.

It’s true that making your own baby food will be healthier, tastier and more cost-effective than buying the jarred stuff. But my time right now is divided between two kids, a hubby and a really fat cat, and then subdivided by all my “grand plans.”

But here’s what it really boils down to.

I’d rather be laying on the floor with my kids in a big slobbery mess of crinkly toys than pretending to be Uber Mom.

I was standing in the kitchen on that glorious sunny So Cal day wondering why I was making baby food instead of playing with the cutest kids ever created {by me (….. and the hubby)}.

I know for many families these days, making baby food isn’t just a labor of love or a crunchy parenting philosophy, but rather a financial necessity. I totally respect that, and I’m not trying to make light of a money issue or sound ungrateful. However, I’m blessed because I do have the choice right now to put time ahead of cost. I don’t have to be a Mommy Martyr (sacrificing sweat, sleep, and time) just because other moms are doing it.

It’s ok that MILTH (Mom I Love To Hate)* is making Boeuf Boullabaisse a la Provencal for her 8-month-old-Chinese-speaking-walker, while NB2.0 is getting Gerber Turkey Dinner tonight.

I have to stop comparing and get out of my own mind game.

As I write this, I realize that my big realization may sound insignificant to some of you. Did she really just ramble on for nine paragraphs about whether or not it’s important to make baby food? Yes. Yes, I did. And there’s more where that came from.

Well, for one … this is my self therapy session that you’ve been unknowingly dragged into. Welcome, welcome.

But two … obviously the homemade baby food represents something “deeper” (damn, Freud’s head must be spinning somewhere). Allow me to share my psychoanalysis with you. Be prepared. It’s going to be almost college high school level.

When I became a mother, particularly a stay at home mom, I replaced my career and a large part of my identity with my new role. Sure I had larger aspirations and long term goals outside of being Mommy, but truly, my day to day obsessions revolved around my role as a parent. It’s a strange replacement, and one that’s not very balanced to say the least.

It’s a 247 job that cannot be left at the door. There are no promotions, end of year evaluations, or obvious signs of achievement.

It’s a full-time job where you may get better, but you never really know. The only means of assessment is growing and changing everyday. I guess you just pray that your child doesn’t end up in therapy because of you.

You have no choice but to compare yourself to other parents or be confident enough to set your own standards since no one else is grading you (at least not to your face).

The drive to be the best possible parent often equates to self-sacrifice – the mommy martyrdom I mentioned earlier. And it seems that the more you sacrifice – hours rocking your baby to sleep or sharing your bed until your little one is in kindergarten – the larger your badge of honor. I bet all mothers have experienced some form of this parenting competition:

Oh, your kid wears disposable diapers?? Well, I sew my own organic, upcycled cloth diapers.

You let your little one cry it out?? I would never let mine cry. I rocked her until she was two years old. 

Oh, you stopped nursing after 6 months? My child is going to self-wean when she goes to middle school.

My dark circles are even darker than yours! 

Well, my eye bags are the droooooooopiestttttt.

I churned this here butter for my homemade bread for my homeschooled child’s lunch. BAM! And I blogged about it. DOUBLE BAM! On my homemade computer. SHABAM!

I’m not proud to admit that I succumb to the judging and competition at times.

Usually, I end up wracked with self doubt. Seeing as this is currently my full time job, I wish I were more confident in all my parenting choices. Instead, I question myself relentlessly. When I tell people that I’m a stay-at-home mom, I assume they think I sit around in my PJ’s all day watching Sesame Street.

And then, thankfully, I have moments like this when I remember to turn off all that noise.

I have a husband who reminds me I’m doing an amazing job. He’s there to balance out my OCD tendencies and immobilizing perfectionism. He could care less if the baby food came from a jar or from outer space. I have family who think I’m a phenomenal mother even though I let my 4-year-old eat DONUTS. The kind with sprinkles. While she watches TV!! And I have loving friends who have no clue who Sophie the Giraffe is (they probably think she lives at the zoo) or what an Ergo, Becco, or Moby is, but they think I’m pretty funny. Which makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Sometimes, we just need a little squash puree in our hair, and good family and friends to remind ourselves that parenting isn’t about the amount of self sacrifice or lack of sleep. We’re not being measured by how well we meal plan the week or create effin amazin craft projects for our kids. We don’t have to be martyrs to be good parents. Enjoy being the parent that you are and not the parent someone else is being. Be true to yourself and be realistic.

And remember, Gerber Turkey Dinner will not send your kid to therapy.

~June Cleaver Dropout Signing Out~

*MILTH (Mom I Love To Hate) is not in reference to one specific person, but rather, a general type of uber perfect annoying mom who’s got all her shit together. She never has diaper blowouts and wouldn’t even think of offering her child “Gerber.” She knows how to back-carry her noob in a baby carrier blindfolded. I think she even whittles her own teething toys from reclaimed wood and sells them on Etsy.  No one knows how she managed to fit into her skinny jeans one month post-partum, but it probably has something to do with the stilettos she wears while “just stopping by the store for some almond milk.”

Comments

  1. 29

    I love your writing style and sense of humor! This post had me laughing a few times and I enjoyed your rambling. Subscribe!

  2. 30

    I loved this post! It’s so true. I find myself feeling the same way!

  3. 31

    I love your blog! I was laughing the whole time! My sister aka MILTH (lost all of her pregnancy weight in 2 weeks plus some!), has a little boy 2 months older than my little guy. And of course she is making him homemade baby food. While I had good intentions…I never quite got around to it. I was feeling all guilty, like I was slacker mom of the year, but your blog made me feel much better. I would rather spend my time playing on the floor with him than cooking up some baby food concoctions any day!

  4. 32

    this… this entry is all things right and wonderful in this world. THANK YOU.

  5. 34

    Fantastic blog as always! I so feel like this, would love to be a MILTH but will never do it, I think it’s impossible :) Thank goodness for supportive husbands who calm us down and remind us that we are doing a good job, not everyone is lucky enough to have that. Fab blog in general, you really helped me through the younger days with EASY routines and ferberizing. I’ve just started a blog about my attempts to be good at this motherhood lark :) http://www.becomingastayathomemum.com if you fancy a read. Thanks again

  6. 35

    I loved this post. You are too funny! My baby is about to start solids in a couple of days and all of my friends are just assuming that I am planning on making homemade baby food. I will give it a try but I don’t have a problem with feeding already prepared food. I have exclusively breastfed for almost 6 months and this momma needs a break! Thanks for the pat on the back Noob Mommy :)

  7. 36

    I just laughed and cried ( I think it has something to do with these crazy hormones). Thank you so much! I have been having a hard time coping with not being a teacher anymore. I have been like overly compensating on making homemade baby food, make sure the house is spotless, having dinner perfect and trying to be thinner than before I got preggers. As well as the other daily task that come with my beyond perfect 6month old. I needed that!`Awesome blog!

  8. 37

    I sincerely almost never laugh out loud, but I did when I read “On my homemade computer.” Zing.

  9. 39
    Stacey Arling says:

    Hello from England,

    Just come across your blog while searching for sample routines for my first baby. I love your take on motherhood :) I be wanted a baby for so long when I finally fell pregnant I was reading all the pregnancy and birthing books I could get my hands on. Totally thought I had my sh*t together and was all set to be a MILTH! Until the day my darling daughter was born……then I realised I did not have a bloody clue what I was doing as I had not read anything about actually having a baby only giving birth to one!! So I have spent the last 6 weeks looking like a complete tramp and eating cereal bars as I desperately try to complete the ‘baby basics’ on a daily basis. But I am getting there, my husband actually commented a few days ago that something looked different about me but he couldn’t put his finger on it…..I had brushed my hair ;) ha ha no sexy mumma over here! It’s great to know that there are other mummies out there going through the exact same thing as me and today I feel totally fine with the fact that I am not actually sure when I last showered!! (I THINK it was yesterday) Thanks for the giggles, keep it up :) xx

  10. 41

    Love your blog! Thank you so much for taking the time to write :) Just trying some nap sleep training this week. Started today and as she began to cry I immediately came here to feel better. Not only did I feel better but she went to sleep after 10 min. Thanks again for the advice and the laughs!!!

  11. 42
    blearyeyed says:

    Just stumbled upon your blog!! ha ha.. i needed that after my first day Ferberizing our 5 month old. :)

  12. 43

    It’s 3:30 in the morning, and I’ve just finished giving my 8 1/2 daughter a bottle and putting her back to bed. Even though I am butt exhausted, I could not (of course) fall back asleep. Somehow, with all these sleepless months, my body seems to have severed entirely the correlation between exhaustion and sleep. Ok, but that’ s not the point. One of the many thoughts swirling through my head keeping me awake was the gourmet dinner I was planning to make in the morning for my little one…what vegetable goes with mangos? How do you cook those bad boys? Are they in season? I went to Target earlier in the day and succumbed to four pouches of organic baby food after having been caught this morning with nothing to feed my daughter except carrots and cereal (needless to say I only got about three spoonfuls in her before that little mouth clamped shut and a look of confused defiance crept into her eyes). I was feeling a bit guilty about it, in all honesty, and thus the recommitment to homemade delicacies and being more prepared in general. Enter your most recent post, and here I am sitting in front of my completely dimmed computer screen literally covering my mouth with my hand to prevent my laughter from waking up my sleeping husband. I can’t tell you how much I needed your particular sense of humor on this particular subject matter. But really, it’s not just the food thing. It’s the whole comparing myself to other moms thing, which I do far more than I care to admit. It’s so easy to do as a first time mom when you have no idea what you’re doing and feel pretty much like a total mess 73% of the time. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one, and I appreciate the reminder to stop, lighten up, and focus on what’s really important – loving my daughter. Thanks so much for the early-morning laughter!

  13. 44

    I read this after another night of my 8 month old just being awake from 230-4am despite eating 3 solid meals and day and a snack. I’ve been trying so hard to make my own baby food, work fulltime on opposite days than my husband to keep little guy out of daycare, cook, clean, catch poop, get peed on etc that your quote turned me around from a nervous breakdown: “We don’t have to be martyrs to be good parents. Enjoy being the parent that you are and not the parent someone else is being. Be true to yourself and be realistic.” (and as I typed this I just realized I’m a martyr ha!) Thank you for your insight!

  14. 45

    Your sense of humor and total honesty brings me so much peace! I have some of the same issues going in my life…and I don’t have any babies to worry about! Working towards continued self-improvement is a difficult thing when society is always hassling you! Perspective is an interesting thing…keep up the good work…the world needs good mommys out there!!! <3

  15. 46

    This post came at the perfect time…just finished feeding my little guy jars of baby food and was contemplating making a sign for my forehead with “LAME MOM” written across it. :-)
    Thanks for the reminder and the reality check. Love your writing and perspective.

  16. 47

    As a mom-admirer and mom-hopeful, I really liked this post! Funny and profound, as always. The constant comparisons and self-critique are obviously not limited to mommying, although it seems that motherhood brings it to a whole new and potentially destructive level. Way to deconstruct the myth of perfection! Love you!

  17. 49

    I loved reading your post!!! 7am feeding then both my 4 mth old and I went back to sleep until 8:30am nearly missing my 2 yr olds class….still in jammies looking at the mess in the kitchen from last night….
    Ah…you are doing an amazing job and so what if we have to get some donuts and TV going? We are amazing moms! Thanks for making me feel better :)

  18. 50

    Can we talk about how much I love you right now? (As I sit in my hotel room at midnight trying to plan a 3rd birthday party next weekend, after traveling for work every week so far this year!!) I don’t need to make themed food to match the party theme! Which, I chose only because that was the decor in the place I rented, thinking it would make my life easier. But I can’t let anything be simple because I want to be that MILTH! It’s a disguising problem and I need therapy. We should talk…

  19. 52

    Oh how I love your posts. I was just telling my husband that your posts crack me up and that I wish i was as funny as you lol You are just hilarious and also so REAL and I love it :)
    My baby boy had a baby food jar dinner tonight too…and he is my first…and he loved it! haha

  20. 54

    very reassuring as i prepare for baby#1. thanks!

  21. 55

    I feel better now :)

  22. 56

    Good job, NM!! All of us, imperfect mothers, back you up 100%.

  23. 57

    You ARE an awesome Mommy! Just don’t give up the roasted blueberries. RB forever! :)

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